Four Parts of Family Engagement

The Four 'I's of Family Engagement

When PTAs are inclusive they embrace and value diverse perspectives.

Developing an inclusive approach helps all families understand that their perspective matters. PTAs need to intentionally build trusting relationships with families in order to ensure they feel comfortable and welcome in the community. 


  • Work on relationship building by using name tents so that you can call people by their names.

  • Create a more welcoming environment to newcomers by avoiding the use  acronyms or making inside jokes.

  • Start to question assumptions by thinking about the calendar for the year and exploring where you can  rethink a PTA tradition or to create a new one.


When PTAs take an individualized approach to family engagement they meet the unique needs of every family and child.

When families attend meetings, they are looking to find out information that is relevant to their own child. Every parent should leave a PTA meeting knowing how the information presented is helpful to their family specifically.


  • Instead of relying on a mass email, try the old fashioned approach by talking with families directly - the carloop during pick up is a great place to start

  • Rather than a long PTA meeting that may not be relevant to everyone, mix things up with mini-sessions led by experts on topics parents care about. 


When PTAs have an integrated approach to family engagement they connect and align their efforts with the broader educational system.

When PTAs partner with teachers and link PTA programming to the learning that is happening in the classroom, it is even more effective.


  • Evaluate how you can make parent teacher conferences more productive for everyone involved.

  • Consider events that go beyond fundraising. For example, consider swapping a bake sale to raise money  for science supplies, with a student-led STEM forum for families.


When PTAs are impactful they empower families to support their children’s success.

Because family engagement is complex and relational, it can feel difficult to measure, but even small steps towards understanding the outcomes of your PTA’s work can go a long way.


  • After hosting an event, interview families to see what they learned about how they can help support their child.

  • Conduct a focus group or listening session to learn about how families feel about their experiences engaging with the school or district


More Resources

Watch our short webinar Transforming Events with the Four 'I's of Family Engagement to learn how you can take your family engagement initiatives to the next level.

Master the Four I's of Transformative Family Engagement in our e-learning course to become a role model for more equitable and effective family engagement practices in your school.

Read through our best practices guide to discover how local PTAs are transforming family engagement in their communities: